As human beings, we are blessed with our ability to critically analyze our purpose in this world.
From the time you can talk to the time you die, you are constantly asked: What do you want to do with your life? The pressure to figure out what you are “supposed” to do is as real as ever before. We have to purposefully seek out purpose. But it doesn’t come easy and never happens when we want it to.
The truth is, finding and discovering your purpose takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight. And the longer that you go without finding your one true purpose, the more intense that pressure can be, making you to think you’re doing something wrong.
But if you have the right strategies and mindsets, not only you can relax knowing that your purpose will come to you one day, but it will come quicker and easier than ever.
Here are 5 tangible strategies and mindsets shifts to help you find your life’s purpose:
1. Clarity Comes with Action
Take action to find your purpose, don’t expect your purpose to just come to you. Get out and start doing because once you do, opportunities will start falling into your lap that will help you clarify your purpose, even if you have no idea what that is.
2. What Can’t You Not Do?
When looking towards passion, many people think about what they can do — what gets them excited or what they would happily do every day. But a better way to look at it is not what you can do, but rather what you can’t not do that is key.
Essentially, the goal is to minimize the amount of regret you might have at the end of your life.
Is there something in your life or work right now that you would regret not doing? Something that, when you are in your rocking chair reflecting back on your life 40 years from now, that you would be kicking yourself because you didn’t do it?
This framework of thinking through what can’t you not do is sometimes more helpful than what you can do because it gets to the root of your desires. When we strip away capabilities and the “how” of a dream, it becomes easier to take action towards because failure isn’t really part of the decision making process. Just simply trying isn’t seen as a bad thing but rather something that comes from trying.
3. Look For the Flow
Flow is the intersection between what you are good at and when time has become irrelevant. The more flow you have in your life, the more aligned you are with your purpose.
To find your own flow, think back to a time when time passed by without you even thinking about it. You weren’t staring at the clock endlessly or checking social media every few minutes. A time when it didn’t matter how long you were doing this specific task, you were 100% present.
What were you doing? Who were you with?
If you can remember a moment of lost time like this, it’s a good indicator that you were in your own flow.
The goal is to build more of these flow moments in your life. The more flow you have, the more purposeful your life will become.
4. Make Little Bets
With our social media influenced culture today, the pressure to “have it all figured out” has never been greater. This pressure is causing us to either not try at all or flat out pretend to have it all figured out too. Obviously, this is a fallacy because the truth is — most people have no clue what they are doing, they’re just following the crowd. In fact, we’re all just stumbling around working to see what works and what doesn’t.
The idea is simple: do something small to test an idea. Instead of leaping from a cliff and hoping you’ll fly, test the wings first. The more you make these little tests or bets, the less risk you take and the quicker and faster you can get to your true purpose. Make a small hypothesis and then test, test, and do more tests. Have patience with this process. Know what you want your outcome to be but don’t force it.
Stop looking for that one moment, that one thing, because it almost will never come. You have to make small steps, that accumulate over time, in order to clarify what you really want. Experience is the best teacher we have.
5. What Do You Suffer For?
When we think of living a purposeful life, most likely we are imagining a stress-free life where every day is exciting and full of passion, but that’s not always the case.
Suffering happens to everyone in different ways. What separates those who live a purposeful and happy life versus those who are miserable, is the meaning you place on suffering. You might have to work late at night while you miss your kid’s baseball game. You might have to pull an all-nighter after work to study for your upcoming test.
Find what you are willing to suffer for and embrace it, because the fear of it will be greater than the suffering in itself.
No matter what strategy or mindset you chose to adopt from this list, pick one and do something with it. Take a sticky note, write down the mindset you wish to make, and tape it to your bathroom mirror. Put your headphones in and talk to yourself about it while walking to the office every morning.
Whatever your method, you need to implement something if you want the results. Your purpose won’t find you, you have to actively pursue it.